Remember those simpler times when all you had to do to get ready for a workout was to put on a worn-out T-shirt and some old sweats? Well, no more. Thanks to companies like Lululemon, now members of the #fitspo lifestyle want to be Instagram-ready when they exercise.
There’s no shame in wanting to feel stylish, and Lululemon sure knows how to take advantage of our desire to look our best while holding downward-facing dog. The company managed to build a cult-like customer following by targeting young, self-sufficient women and giving them the opportunity to not only feel comfortable while working out, but also be able to go out to dinner right after their yoga class. Despite its effective marketing strategy and impressive earnings, though, Lululemon is often seen as one of the most bizarre companies out there. And for good reason.For instance, did you know that the company is called Lululemon because its founder believed Japanese people wouldn't be able to pronounce it? We kid you not. Or that it once claimed its pants were made with seaweed, which it turns out was a lie? Yikes! Don’t worry, there’s more. We’ve gathered a hefty list of facts about the cult-like yoga brand to try and figure out why so many people call Lululemon weird. Read on.
Lululemon’s former CEO seemed to be pro child-labor.
Chip Wilson, Lululemon’s founder and former CEO, once said he thinks children in third-world countries should be allowed to work in factories because it’s a way for them to earn wages. According to Canada's The Tyee, the statement was made at a conference back in 2005. Wilson argued that “even in Canada there is a place for 12- and 13-year-old street youths to find work in local factories as an alternative to collecting handouts.”
He also claimed that birth control pills led to high divorce rates.
In a fascinating blog post published on the company’s website, Wilson wrote: “In the early 1970′s, “the pill” came into being. (…) Women’s lives changed immediately. Men’s lives didn’t change however and they continued to search for a stay-at-home wife like their mothers. Men did not know how to relate to the new female. Thus came the era of divorces.”He then goes on about how women started smoking to appear successful and how “(…) Lululemon was formed because female education levels, breast cancer, yoga/athletics and the desire to dress feminine came together all at one time.” The company has since removed Wilson as an author, but if you read the comments you’ll see that the first ones are addressed directly to him.
Oh, and he likes to make fun of Japanese people.
According to the company’s official website, the name Lululemon was chosen from a list of multiple potential names. Wilson, however, once said that he picked this name because he thinks Japanese people can't say the letter 'L' and it’s funny to watch them try. He eventually denied making these claims, but you know how it is - once it's on the Internet, it's out there forever.
Lululemon once printed "Who is John Galt?" bags.
In 2011, Lululemon faced controversy after printing shopping bags with the slogan “Who is John Galt?” That’s the opening line of Atlas Shrugged, a novel by Ayn Rand that promotes the idea of individuals living for their self-interest and dismisses altruism. Not surprisingly, a lot of customers were offended.